Reading with Children

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You probably see a book being marked with certain Lexile number or found it from your child’s standardized test report . Do you know what different numbers mean? Lexile measure is used to match readers with text at whatever level the reader’s reading level.  According to Lexile.com: “There is no direct correspondence between a specific Lexile measure and a specific grade level. Within any classroom or grade, there will be a range of readers and a range of reading materials. For example, in a fifth-grade classroom there will be some readers who are ahead of the typical reader (about 250L above) and some readers who are behind the typical reader (about 250L below). You can download the pdf file of “What does the Lexile Measure Mean?” at their website.

So how do you help a child to determine if the book is at his/her reading level? The gneral rule of thumb to select a book for a child using the Lexile measure should be at or slightly above but not too much from the child’s Lexile number (ask your teacher if your child has one). You want to challenge the child but not to frustrate him/her and take the joy out of reading.  If you don’t have the Lexile information of your child, you may use the Five Finger Rule of Reading.  My son’s elementary teacher once shared this rule with me.  How does this rule work?  First, ask your child to read a couple pages of the book and when the child is unsure or don’t know a word, hold up a finger. If there are five or more words for each page that the child did not know, then the book maybe too difficult. Try a new book and use the same approach again to determine if it is the right level for your child.

Other questions you may ask your child to check his/her understanding of the book:

  • Who is the main character?
  • What happens in the story so far?
  • Do you enjoy the book?
  • Do you know almost every word?
  • Ask the child to read  it aloud, can he/she read it smoothly?

Here are two charts from Lexile.com provide references of different Lexile ranges per Grade level.

Typical Text Measures, by Grade

  • Do I understand what I am reading?
  • Do I know almost every word?
  • When I read it aloud, can I read it smoothly?
  • Do I think the topic will interest me?
Grade Text Demand Study 2009
25th percentile to 75th percentile (IQR)
2012 CCSS Text Measures*
1 230L to 420L 190L to 530L
2 450L to 570L 420L to 650L
3 600L to 730L 520L to 820L
4 640L to780L 740L to 940L
5 730L to 850L 830L to 1010L
6 860L to 920L 925L to 1070L
7 880L to 960L 970L to 1120L
8 900L to 1010L 1010L to 1185L
9 960L to 1110L 1050L to 1260L
10 920L to 1120L 1080L to 1335L
11 and 12 1070L to 1220L 1185L to 1385L

Typical Reader Measures, by Grade

Grade Reader Measures, Mid-Year
25th percentile to 75th percentile (IQR)
1 Up to 300L
2 140L to 500L
3 330L to 700L
4 445L to 810L
5 565L to 910L
6 665L to 1000L
7 735L to 1065L
8 805L to 1100L
9 855L to 1165L
10 905L to 1195L
11 and 12 940L to 1210L

Happy reading!